Powering converted Peco Electrofrog turnouts

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I am in the process of converting sixteen Peco Electrofrog turnouts to DCC friendly turnouts. I am using the instructions in Allan Gartner's "Wiring for DCC". My question - how do I get power to the from rails just beyond the cut frog and to the longer frog rails with the insulated rail joiners. I am assuming the answer is to just jumper them to the same power as going to the stock rails, but am not sure.

-- Vic Christian (vic.christian@rci.com), December 13, 2001



I'm not sure I understand your question. You have an extra word or two in your question (I do that all the time! :) ) and I'm not absolutely sure I know which rails you are refering to. I'll try to answer your question. If I don't answer it, please check the very first couple of drawings in the turnout section of the web page as they have each rail named.

If you are referring to the rails that I show in green, the frog rails, you will need to power route those shown through your turnout machine. The light bulb is completely optional.

If you are referring to the rails after the insulated joiners, they go directly to the appropriate bus wire (shown as red or blue in my drawings) as if the turnout didn't exist. Just imagine the track going straight throught.

This is one of the benefits of power routing only the frog area. With the track after the turnout getting wired as if the turnout wasn't there, should the turnout ever develop a problem, that problem will not be propagated to the trackwork after the turnout. In a yard ladder, this could amount to a ton of headaches!

In practice, I don't use the light bulb in the position shown. I include my light bulb in the section of track that is attached to the heel of the turnout. This uses one bulb to cover the switch and whatever straight section of track that preceeds the turnout. I still only have one turnout per bulb. So if you take everything off that section of track and the bulb is still lit, you know which turnout is the problem. This advice is best for clubs where trains stop running, but no one is sure who caused it - and everyone wants to get running again! For one person home layouts, you know you caused the problem in some way and you know the train you are running did it. So you can use fewer bulbs at home and cover a larger area.

Also, I extend the frog area power routed a few inches on the mainline and passing sidings where block detectors are used. I include in the power routed area that section of track that is within the fowling area of the turnout. That way, when a block detector reports back to the dispatcher that a turnout is clear, it is truly clear.

This is useful if you MIGHT ever use a computer to aid running multiple trains. This is likely during a show where you are talking with the guests and are not watching things carefully.

-- Allan Gartner (wiringfordcc@augustmail.com), December 15, 2001.


I have the closure rails cut off from the frog. The point rails are still "attached" to the closure rails.

I show jumpers from the closure rails to the stock rails. Those could just as easily be feeders directly to your buses underneath. In fact, that's how I always wire mine as dropping feeders minimizes the number of wires soldered to track. When you solder to track, you always run the risk of melting something - especially if a person does not consider themselves good at soldering.

I show an option of connecting the points to the closure rails. I recommend you do either that or drop feeders from the point rails to the buses. Definitely do one or the other as eventually the mechanical connection between the points and closure rails will not make good electrical contact. It doesn't matter which of these approaches you use, but if you are finding that putting a jumper between the points and closure rails is too much load on your switch machines, then dropping feeders from the points should represent less of a mechanical load for your switch machines.

-- Allan Gartner (wiringfordcc@augustmail.com), December 20, 2001.

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